This Is What Winning Looks Like

Yes, we CAN win. This week the “thin green line” held, scoring two big victories over proposed projects for corporate profiteering.

The first win: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission upheld the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s denial of a key permit to the Jordan Cove LNG project. This project, for the profits of Canadian corporation Pembina, would have moved explosive “natural” gas, also known as methane, to an estuary-killing Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal in the coastal port of Coos Bay. Jordan Cove LNG would have meant huge permanent clear cuts, intrusions into family farms, and a huge increase in Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. Indigenous people opposed it because of the destruction of Native burial sites, among many other reasons.

In November 2019, XRPDX rebels joined Oregonians from around the state in opposition, first outside the Capitol Building, then in the Governor’s office, for 9 hours. Three XR rebels among others were arrested in a peaceful, determined sit-in. Jordan Cove LNG isn’t completely killed off yet, but it’s close. For more, please read this: https://rogueclimate.org/lng-denial-upheld/

The second win was in our northern neighbor. The Washington Department of Ecology denied permits for the huge fracked gas-to-methanol refinery proposed for a particularly beautiful stretch of the Columbia River in Kalama. Appropriately, Columbia Riverkeeper took the lead in the struggle to convince WA Ecology to deny this threat to our shared watershed and region.

Northwest Innovation Works, a Chinese-backed corporation whose website shamelessly promotes it as “confronting climate change,” may challenge the decision, but Columbia Riverkeeper “will help defend this victory in court if necessary.” For more, please check this out: https://www.columbiariverkeeper.org/news/2021/1/victory-over-fracked-gas-refinery

These kinds of wins require dedicated work: educating the public and the media, contacting decision-makers on every possible platform, sustaining coalitions, testifying at hearings, monitoring news coverage, making art, organizing rallies and direct actions. XRPDX folks are proud to have taken action for these victories. Wins here can give hope to those fighting battles against the many-headed, fossil-fuel-profiteering hydra, in Minnesota’s Indigenous-led battle against Line 3, and elsewhere.

Much more work remains. Complacency as the Biden-Harris administration takes office would be a huge mistake. But this week, we can revel in winning. It feels like a big exhalation, as a door cracks open, letting in fresh air and sunshine.

In the words of 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, as she recited her poem at the inauguration:

There is always light
if only we’re brave enough to see it
if only we’re brave enough to be it.

About Janet Weil

Janet Weil is a writer and climate activist who works on the XRPDX media working group. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Ethics in Tech, and the Climate Crisis and Militarism working group of Veterans For Peace. A bird lover, Janet is inspired by the decades-long quest to bring back the California condor from the brink of extinction.

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